Peter Get Woodworking

Thanks to Tom Iovino, it's Get Woodworking Week. It's a week when we in the online woodworking world and the regular woodworking world look to help others enter the craft. While many of my compatriots are writing fantastic posts about what tools to purchase, how to use the tools, what projects to begin with and how to do joinery, I thought I would offer a different take. I wanted to show just how easy it is to get someone into woodworking. Hopefully many others will fall prey to woodworking as easily as Pete has.

My friend Pete and I went to college together. We’ve got many shared interests and a lifetime of shared experiences. Up until recently, woodworking was not one of them.
L to R: Me, Shots & Pete. Circa 1998. Shots is a cop now. Pete and I are not.
Since I’ve been blogging and ranting on and on about how wonderful woodworking is, Pete has been one of the few, non-woodworking friends to show an interest. He’s actually been looking to come visit and go over some woodworking for quite some time. We were finally able to make it happen over this passed Christmas break.

As woodworking was one of many topics we hoped to cover during his brief afternoon with us, we choose to take on a very simple project I had pending and work on it from start to finish so that Pete could see the whole thing.

The project was the construction of a simple shelf to hold the cable box and DVD player in my room. By simple, I mean simple. It only consisted of cutting a flat board to size, rounding the edges and sanding. I doubt any of us would even call this woodworking.

Yet, for Pete, it was a revelation on many levels.
Peter, rounding the edge.
On one hand, like most non-woodworkers, he’d never stopped to consider the steps involved in making something from wood, even something this simple. When we reviewed how using a simple ⅛” round-over bit in a trim router to address the edges would make the whole shelf much warmer and touch friendly, it was a eureka moment. Pete instantly understood why it was so beneficial to the project yet without this brief woodworking class it would never have occurred to him.
Sand old women. Sand like the wind.
On the other hand, Pete reveled in the hands-on work. Even tasks as mundane as running a random orbit sander over a flat surface were rewarding because their results could instantly be felt and appreciated.
The completed shelf, in all its basic, functional glory.
While spending a few hours in my shop, making a simple utilitarian shelf hasn’t made Pete a woodworking expert by any means, even small projects like this are important when shared with others. By choosing such a simple project, and working on it from start to finish, Pete partook in the most important part of woodworking, the creation of a piece from a block of wood.  He caught the bug. The actual methodology, the skills to make complex pieces on his own, that will come with time. First he needed the desire and that has been firmly planted.
A happy new woodworker!